Recruitment Resources (Boy Scouts of America)
A steady flow of youth into a each scout unit is essential to maintaining unit health. New Scouts bring energy and enthusiasm to the program. To avoid the pitfall of shrinking membership, aim to add at least 10 new Scouts every year. Having a year-round growth plan in place will help attract new Scouts.
The first step for any recruitment effort is to appoint a volunteer to serve as the unit membership chair. This person will develop and implement a year-round growth plan that incorporates all methods of recruitment, working closely with the community, the district membership committee, and the unit commissioner.
Resources to Assist Volunteers of the Boy Scouts of America with their unit recruitment:
- 1 Recruitment Preperation (General)
- 2 General Recruiting Tips
- 3 Cub Scout Pack Recruitment
- 4 Scouts BSA Troop Recruitment
- 5 Venturing Crew Recruitment
- 6 Sea Scouts Recruitment
- 7 OA Recruitment
- 8 District Recruitment Committee
Recruitment Preperation (General)
- Scout Leader Basic Training: Having a rich understanding of the program will greatly enhance your success as a unit recruiter. This section provides a variety of materials, from quick references to complete courses, all designed to help our members improve leadership skills and deliver a quality program.
- Youth Protection Training: - BSA is the worldwide leader in developing guidelines to serve and protect our youth. Be familiar with YPT.
- University of Scouting: Most BSA Council's hold an annual event on scouting best practices. Several of these courses focus on recruiting strategies unique for your community.
- Online Recruitment Courses:
- Attend Wood Badge: This advance adult scouting leadership training course will give you some awesome skills to greatly enhance your success as a unit recruiter.
- Attend District Membership Committee: get update info on recruitment events, ongoing training, opportunities and best practices in your area.
- District Roundtable - get update info on recruitment events and opportunities in your area. Several times a year they have recruitment refresher sessions and updated recruitment collateral.
- Pack and Den Recruiting: - ScoutingWire Special Training Feature
- How to Win Friends & Influence People - by Dale Carnegie.
- Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter - By Scott Adams. Excellent Persuasion skills is necessary quality for any master recruiter.
Annual Recruitment Plan
Having a year-round growth plan in place will help attract new Scouts.
- Year Round Guide to Scouting Recruitment: -
- Spring School Open House: Public School Event. Excellent time to recruit for summer camp and secure enrollments before the new program year starts.
- Back to School Nite: Public School Event. Contact many new families
- Spring Unit Open House: Showcase great outdoor adventures planned for spring and summer.
- Frequently attend unit events: Look for new faces of youth, adults, and siblings that are participating or could be potential participants. Greet all Visitors
- Report to Unit Committee: share goals, accomplishments, plans and advise your unit on how they can assist the recruitment effort.
- Youth Recruiting Event: Youth-to-youth referrals are highly effective.
Before launching your recruiting drive - stock up on these essential items.
- Update Unit BeAScout Pin: - During recruitment it will be easier to point new signups to the online registration link at BeAScout.org.
- Prepare Unit One-Sheet: one-page flyer about the unit, important contacts, annual calendar of events and unit goals (Ie "have fun").
- Stack of Scout Interest Cards:
- Stack of Adult Applications:
- Stack of Youth Applications:
- Stack of Boys Life Samples:
- Unit Poster Exhibit:
- BSA Recruiting Hub - More online resources.
- Prepare Recruitment Station - table, tablecloth, large posters, easles, handouts, etc. (My best posters were photos of the youth doing super fun outdoor activities. I also had old boys life magazines ready to handout too.)
Know your local recruiting partners:
Unit New Member Coordinator
- New Member Coordinator - Sustaining strong membership in a unit depends partly on reaching new audiences to invite them to join the unit and partly on engaging new members and their families so that they feel welcomed and want to stay. The role of the New Member Coordinator is to ensure that both keys to success take place. (ScoutingWire)
General Recruiting Tips
Year Round Referrals
- Invite A Friend: By far the single most effective recruitment tool is a word of month referral youth-to-youth or parent-to-parent. Scouting holds weekly, monthly annual activities that are fun. All activity announcements sent to families by phone, mail, flyer, text, etc should always carry a note to Invite a Friend.
- Visitor Attendance Log: Each unit should keep a visitor attendance log. Some units may award a year end prize or family membership discount to the top 1-3 recruiters of the year.
- Pass-A-Long Card: A simple 3x5 type invite card. Front side is a colorful invite and the backside has contact information for the troop, troop website, BeAScout.org, etc. (See example to the right.)
- BeAScout.org: Every Scout unit should check their listing here periodically. Be sure to frequently mention this link. Update "BeAScout" Cyber Pin - BSA National and Council conducts various large scale marketing campaigns that directs parents to use this interactive online map to find the right scouting unit nearest their home or school or special interest. Proof that your "pin" is working, has the right contact info and a good description of your program and link to your unit website.
- Build Unit Website - Many perspective families will do online research before contacting you again. Your website presense should have great pictures and family testimonials to help sell your unit. State your unit mission and purpose.
- BSA Pack 235 - Red Hill Lutheran Church. (Sample)
- BSA Troop 11 - Alameda CA (Sample)
- BSA Troop 707 & Crew 707 - Lake Highlands Elks Lodge. (Sample)
- BSA Sea Scout Ship 3500 - "Rock of Ages" - Pleasant Harbor Marina. (Sample)
- ScoutWiki Unit Pins - Update your unit listing on this additional volunteer scouting cyber marketing effort.
- Recruiter Recognition - Scout to Scout "word of mouth" referrals is certainly the most effective way attract and retain new members. Encourage the youth to earn and display this patch.
- Class B Shirts - Encourage Scouts and Leaders to Wear the Class B shirts - especially before Back To School Night or any School Festival. Also wear other souvenir scouting shirts - (I frequently get positive feedback when I wear mine out in public.)
- ScoutShop Bumber Sticker -
- Custom Troop Bumber Sticker - place on scout vehicles, trailers, camp gear, school binders, etc, etc, etc, and more.
- Benefits of Scouting Flyer - Prepare a summary recap handout of the many benefits of Scouting.
- Invite A Friend - Every scouting activity flyer should include a reminder to the scouts to bring a friend. Fun activities is their opportunity to make a positive impression.
- Serve your Neighbors - encourage scouts to look for frequent opportunities to serve their neighbors. (Matt 5:14-16)
- Scouting Posters for the Home - Encourage scouting families to hang scouting posters in the home.
- Digital Device Background - encourage youth and adults to have a scouting theme backdrop for their phone, reader, computer or other digital device.
- Share Scout theme videos - in social media, Youtube, facebook, twitter.
- Unit Newsletter - monthly, quarterly or annual. Emphasize fun and adventure and outdoors and service.
- Frequent Field Trips - every scout outting is a unique opportunity to interact with the general population and to show your unit brand.
- Make New Friends - A Scout is Friendly - as often as possible. Look for someone who needs a friend.
- Use Scouting Lingo - Get friends to ask you about what those words mean.
- Room Decor - Hang a mini-Scout Law or Timeless Values Poster in your workplace or office cubicle.
Social Media Marketing:
- Business Message Boards -
- Church Message Boards -
- NextDoor.com - "The Private Social Network for Your Neighborhood." Post all invites to local scouting open house events here!
- Facebook Advertising -
- #Beascout Hashtag on Twitter -
- Share a daily/weekly scout message
- Encourage Scouter Blogging - Many scouters have different journal methods and reach different audiences.
- Facebook Comments - post scout positive comments in Facebook.
- Include US Flag Image - scientifically proven to have a positive persuasive effect for scouting recognition.
- Facebook Compliments #1 - Thank people and organizations for their support of scouting or the country or for our Veterans.
- Facebook Quote of the Day -
- Facebook Links
- Great BoysLife Articles - link to fun articles in BoysLife, Scouting Wire, etc.
- [Scouting News] - Find lots of positive eagle service project news articles. Positive, complementary, service, and humorous. (There are always lot.)
- ScoutingWire.org - more great scouting articles.
- Benefits of Scouting - Links to great articles about the benefits of Scouting.
- Benefits of Scouting #2 - more great article links
- 14 Benefits of Sending a Scout to Camp -
- 9 Benefits of Scouting -
- Why Scouting - A Study of the Many Benefits of Scouting
- Troop 282 Honors Veterans with 21-Gun Salute and Flag Ceremony
- Scouting For Food Kick’s Off Giving Season
- University Acceptance Letter Compliments Eagle Scouts -
- Webelos Scout Sells Popcorn in all 50 States
- Unit Twitter Handle - #Troop726SDIC
- Unit Instagram Account -
- Unit Facebook Page - I ran mine like a big private group scrapbook to share event pictures with scouter families. These families could then share with their friends and extended family.
- Open for more ideas
Youth Service Organizations
Contact any of the following organizations about doing a joint community expo day to help raise awareness about scouting programs for youth in your community:
- Kiwanis Club - Mission Statement: "At the Kiwanis Children's Fund, our mission is to develop resources that transform the goodwill and vision of Kiwanians into programs that serve the children of the world." - This means they frequently sponsor and support scouting units in the local community.
- Lions Club Internations - "To empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions clubs."
- Rotary Club - "... to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through its fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders."
- Civitan Internation - "... an organization of volunteer service clubs around the world, dedicated to helping people in their own communities."
- Moose Lodge -
- Order of Elks - "To inculcate the principles of Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love and Fidelity; to recognize a belief in God; to promote the welfare and enhance the happiness of its Members; to quicken the spirit of American patriotism; to cultivate good fellowship..."
- Optimist Club - "By providing hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in youth, our communities and ourselves. Optimist International will be recognized worldwide as the premier volunteer organization that values all children and helps them develop to their full potential."
- our Charter Organization:
- Local Church Groups: Most communities have a local church partnership program that includes efforts to outreach and serve local youth.
- Host a Family Friendly Event : WLACC Family Carnival -
- Local Attraction Discout Rates - Many families with tight budgets enjoy visiting local attractions and benefitting from the discount rates available to large groups such as scouts.
- Local Attraction VIP Tours - Many families enjoy that scout groups frequently enjoy VIP guided tours to local attractions.
- Community Event Display - try and have a recruiting booth at community events, like National Night Out, Christmas Parade, christmas caroling, etc.
- Pinewood Derby Display @ Community events—set up a booth with a pinewood derby track and some cars.
- YMCA Events - check a YMCA or JCC in the area they are always running community events. Setup a table at the YMCA heathy kids day, start of the fall basketball season, trunk or treat etc.
- Town Hall Flag Presentation - Many City Council meetings being with a flag pledge and really (!) enjoy having a scout unit there to lead the presentation of the colors.
- Community Flag Ceremonies - get short news clips in the school parent news letter and do flag ceremonies whenever we can.
- Interfaith Council Events - Contact interfaith councils / participate in interfaith events.
- Scout Day at the Ballpark - another opportunity to show the community our scouting spirit and have a fun time doing it. Petco Park - Campout on the BallField - popular scout event. Frequently done by out-of-council units staying the week at nearby Camp Fiesta Island Summer Camp.
- Harlem Globetrotters Scout Night - All Scout tickets include a commemorative Harlem Globetrotters patch.
- Zoo Roar and Snore Sleepover - sleepovers include camp activities, an after-hours look at the wild life of our animals, guided walks, a campfire program, dinner, an evening snack, and breakfast the following morning.
- Ten Commandments Hike - Combination high-profile parade, wave the flag, Duty to God, etc. Visits several local churches, including many that don't sponsor a scout unit but are more than happy to host a scout visit. (Ex: New York Peace Hike, Nov-2018, )
G. Scout Shows:
67. Scout Show - games, scout skills, food trucks, and more. A lot of other units have been going to back too school events, PTO events, and family nights at the schools. 68. Recognition Dinner for Charter Org - 69. Advancement Ceremonies - Invite extended family and friends to major advancement ceremonies.
71. JustServe.org #1 - Post all unit serve projects on JustServe and invite the public to join you there. 72. JustServe.org #2 - Look for service projects in your community that your scout unit can assist with. 73. JustServe.org #3 - A common ongoing service project is the international family history indexing project at many Family History Center's of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This activity is open to youth as young as age 11 and involves simple reading and data entry skills for as little as one-hour. 74. Historic Sites - Service project for local historic sites. 75. Eagle Project List - Prepare a list of Eagle Projects ideas that provide maximum visibility in the community. 76. Invite Community to Service Projects - 77. Scouting for Food - Contact all your neighbors. Include Scout Unit pass-a-long card.
Cub Scout Pack Recruitment
School Night for Scouting is for kids in kindergarten through 5th grade; which are the normal Cub Scout ages. From June to August, watch your District Roundtable for training cub scout recruiting, and organizing School Night for Scouting in your area.
18. School Night for Scouting (SNFS) - a one night event at the start of the school year, where we provide the opportunity to sign-up for Cub Scouts at every elementary school in the district. Most new scouting recruits come from this event. Ask your district executives which schools (public, private, charter, church-school, home-school, etc) are in your neighborhood and have not been assigned to a Cub Pack as of yet. School Night Tips - NorthernStarBSA.org Sign-up Night Playbook - ScoutingWire.org School Night Planning Guide - Prepare for and deliver an effective school recruiting function School Night for Scouting - 2013 YouTube Presentation
19. School Community Newspapers - they are always looking for appropriate news stories. Share with them about scouts, activities, accomplishments, etc. 20. School Message Boards - 21. PTA Meetings - link School Night for Scouting with parent orientation, a PTA meeting, or some other event that is more heavily promoted. Some packs often provides crafts and games for the children while parents are meeting teachers. 22. PeachJar.org - What's After Class? - Many schools now contract with PeachJar to deliver timely online notices about approved after-school programs like sports and scouting. (Normally $25 per listing, but ask around about "Free" listings.) 23. New Family Orientation Night - Schedule a scout night roughly 1-2 weeks after the School Night Recruiting to welcome them to your pack, collect signup forms and initial membership
Scouts BSA Troop Recruitment
91. Feeder Packs - Cub Scout B&G Recognition 92. Webelos Woods - 93. Den Chiefs - It is amazing how much cub scouts admire and respect the older boy scouts. Have him share a moment at pack meeting about their hi-adventure trips.
Venturing Crew Recruitment
Every group needs a "shiny object" that grabs the interest of the young crowd, today's youth have so many competing interests!
94. Camporee Exhibits - Lots of the best candidates for older scout units are those scouts that are actively participating at District Camporees. 95. Host Merit Badge Clinic - Many crews have special talents and could host some phenomenal merit badge classes. 96. Scout Summer Camp Exhibits - 97. District Webelos Woods - While there are usually many strong scout units present trying to recruit the webelos, this would be a great opportunity for the Crews to strut their stuff. 98. Invite a Friend Night - The friends get a special gift . 99. Special Event Day/Night - Shooting sports and arcade game day. For STEM enthusiasts, launching rockets, indoor rock climbing wall, RC vehicles, and drones are all popular. 99B. Troop Court of Honor Displays - 99C. School’s Eagle Scout Display inspires Others : Bryan on Scouting - See what they do at Ridge High School in Basking Ridge NJ. (11-Dec-2018)
Sea Scouts Recruitment
100. Camporee Exhibits - Lots of the best candidates for older scout units are those scouts that are actively participating at District Camporees. 101. Host Troop Sail Adventures - Have a promotional display at District Roundtables. 102. Scout Summer Camp Exhibits -
103. Camporee Exhibits - Lots of the best candidates for older scout units are those scouts that are actively participating at District Camporees. 104. Indian Lore Merit Badge - OA units have the best material to present this 105. Scout Summer Camp Exhibits - 106. District Webelos Woods - While there are usually many strong scout units present trying to recruit the webelos, this would be a great opportunity for the Crews to strut their stuff. 107. December Roundtable - Inform all Scoutmasters about the importance of January OA Elections. Include big display (pictures / video / etc) to help scouts understand what is OA. 108. OA Retention - Experience has shown that the vast majority of youth of the next generation prefer their communication via text messaging instead of email! (Make it happen.)
District Recruitment Committee
J. More Ideas:
78. Build/Edit ScoutWiki, MeritBadge.org, Wikipedia, or other Open Content Forum - Add Content on scouting activities and adventures that promote scouting. As the community sees more examples of scouting taking the lead in providing family friendly outdoor activities, recruitment opportunities will increase. 79. Wood Badge Ticket - Every scouting Wood Badge Candidate should have at least 1 "Ticket" project involving boosting their unit membership. It could begin with anything on this list or being something entirely different. 80. Recycle Boys Life - drop off those old copies at the waiting room for your doctor, dentist, resort, work/school cafeteria. Donate to local public libraries. 81. Community 5K Run - This event could get lots of attendance, hand out bsa t-shirts and other take home souvenirs. Collect $40 from each participant and you just knocked a big chunk out of our District FOS quota also! 82 - 86 : Open for more ideas
87. Recruitment Training - This should be a major session of District Roundtable, several times a year, especially in the early summer months. 88. New Unit Moment - A brief roundtable big rock is to review with the membership new units being formed in the area. 89. Preview New Recruiting Videos - a fun big rock item for Roundtable.
90. BSA Membership Recruitment Hub - From recruiting ideas to social media best practices, the Hub provides a one-stop resource to discover, activate, and improve your marketing and recruiting strategy. 91. BSA Brand Center - With new digital-specific guidelines, the BSA brand identity guide contains all the tools you need to craft messages and materials that resonate with today’s families while keeping true to the BSA brand. 91B. BSA Bumper Stickets (Custom Unit Stickers?) - Put on Cars, Scout Trailers, School Notebooks and Lunch Boxes, and your Scout Gear. Gift for Grandparents and Alumni. 91C. BSA License Plate Frames (Custom Council Frame?) - Put on Cars and Scout Trailers. Gift for Grandparents and Alumni.